Bois Blanc Island – Straits of Mackinac

Bois Blanc has provided a perfect hideout for people needing one, including the notorious John Dillinger. These are the ruins of one of three cabins purportedly used by Dillinger and his gang. You, too, may find Bois Blanc Island a good place to hide away from the rest of the world.

Only eight miles (13 kilometers) from the mainland, a 40-minute ferry ride, 34 square miles (88 square kilometers) of pristine beauty and a rich, quiet history await you. The ferry lands at the one town on the island: Pointe Aux Pins, French for “Pine Point.”

Bois Blanc is where Native Americans from Mackinac tapped maple syrup in the spring. Bois Blanc supplied historic Mackinac with wood for its fires, lime for plaster and log chinking, the dolomite from which the best lime kilns could be built, a hideout for its general, and hunting grounds for its sports hunters.

Be prepared to hear islanders and cottagers refer to the island as “Bob-Lo,” an early English attempt to pronounce the French “Bois Blanc.” Many believe that the white wood referred to in the name is the white inner bark of the American basswood tree, which was used by both the Native Americans and French as a source for fiber, used to make rope, in the construction of canoes, and for the webbing on snowshoes. The Native Americans’ name for island was Wigobiminiss, wigobi signifying “tying bark” and miniss “island.”